“There’s definitely an old-school feel to this record,” he says. “I feel like this record really gets back to the heart and soul of what was making this band stand out in the first place, back in ‘93 and ‘94. Our last record [2013’s The Paradigm Shift] was the first record with Brian back in the band. I’d wanted that to happen for quite a while – I knew that having the original four up front again was inevitable, and that it would be really special for the band. I’m really proud of what we achieved on The Paradigm Shift, but I also feel as though it was us dipping our toes in the water to see what the band sounded like with Brian returning. Now that we’ve had a few years of touring with this version of the line-up, it really has become a machine.”
The Serenity of Suffering was pieced together across several writing sessions last year before it was laid down in the studio earlier in 2016, with Grammy-winning producer Nick Rasulinecz behind the boards. “We were so focused,” recalls Luzier. “In 2015, we’d spend a few months on the road, a few writing new material, back and forth until the end of the year, where we’d amassed 27 songs. It was important that we made the distinction between capturing the spirit of the band’s early days and simply just copying that sound; which is something we just weren’t interested in doing. We wanted to make it a nod to the band’s past with a modern twist to it, and I think that we achieved that.”
Luzier first entered the fold shortly after the release of the band’s untitled album in 2007. With original drummer David Silvera gone, the albums’ drums were recorded by session legend Terry Bozio, Korn frontman Jonathan Davis and even Bad Religion drummer Brooks Wackerman. When fill-in drummer Joey Jordison – of Slipknot and the Murderdolls – could not make any further touring commitments with the band, Luzier stepped up to the plate. Eventually, he would permanently take up residency on the drum stool, and has played on all of the band’s releases since then.
“The way I see it, there’s no band on the planet like Korn,” says Luzier of his involvement with the band. “I was originally enlisted in the band just to replicate the drum parts that had already been recorded as part of the touring ensemble – and, at that point, I was honestly just happy to be a hired gun. I was getting to play in all of these amazing places in front of all these awesome fans. Having someone on-stage that wasn’t David would have been a hard thing to process for a lot of fans – when you’ve been there from the beginning like he was, it’s so difficult to imagine someone else being in that position. I still consider myself as big a Korn fan as anyone, so no one understood it better than me. These four guys have quite the history together, but I feel like I’ve found my groove after spending five or six years as a fully-fledged member. It’s still unreal to me that this happened – if you had told me back in the day that I’d end up touring with Korn for nearly 10 years, I’d have laughed in your face.”
Keeping in the spirit of the band’s return to a heavier and more intense sonic style after dalliances with dubstep and hip-hop, The Serenity of Suffering sees Luzier and the so-called “original four” taking on big choruses, crashing detours and a sharpened sense of dynamics. Perhaps most important for Luzier, though, was making sure that he was presenting something authentic that stayed true to the band’s sound.
“For the most part, all the drums on this record were organic and were recorded live,” he says. “Nick was very detailed and very hands-on when it came to the tone of the drums on this record. He’d tell me to take a ten-minute break between pretty much every recording session so he could go in and tune the toms and the rest of the drums to his exact specifics. We didn’t trigger anything – we tried to get the drums sounding as natural as they could. Nick only implemented samples later on in the final mixes – when you’re going up against a wall of seven-string guitars and a vocalist like JD, you really want something solid that can hold its own.”
The Serenity of Suffering is out now via Roadrunner Records. For more details, head to official.korn.com.